Officials in Germany have arrested four alleged members of the Islamic State group after discovering a plan by the accused to attack U.S. military facilities.
“They jointly founded a so-called cell in Germany. They initially planned to travel to Tajikistan to take part in fighting against the government as part of the armed ‘jihad,’” the federal prosecutor’s agency of Germany said in a statement.
“After the accused had refrained from this project, they now intended to commit fatal attacks in Germany,” the statement added.
One man was arrested in March 2019, while the others were arrested on Wednesday.
The suspects, whose last names were not released, are Tajikistan nationals identified as Azizjon B, Muhammadali G, Farhodshoh K, Sunatullokh K and Ravsan B.
— Guy Elster (@guyelster) April 15, 2020
The Jerusalem Post reported the terror cell formed in January 2019 and was receiving orders from high-ranking members of the Islamic State group in Syria and Afghanistan.
The terror plan also had links to individuals in Turkey, according to authorities.
“To finance their plans and the ‘Islamic State’ in Syria, the accused collected money in Germany and transferred it to the association via financial agents located in Turkey,” the statement said.
The agency added that the accused “planned a murder attempt on a person who, from the perspective of the accused, had made public statements that were critical of the Islam.
“Against this background, the targeted murder victim has already been spied on by the accused Farhodshoh K. US Air Force bases in Germany were also scouted,” the agency’s statement said.
The alleged Islamic State group cell had already acquired a number of conventional firearms and was also collecting plans and components in order to make homemade explosives and other incendiary weapons, authorities said.
Prosecutors said the suspects joined ISIS in Jan. 2019 and initially had plans to travel to Tajikistan to join the “jihad”. After abandoning those plans, the suspects reportedly wanted to stage deadly attacks in ?? and were in touch with top ISIS members in Syria and Afghanistan.
— Andy Eckardt (@ameckardt) April 15, 2020
The Associated Press reported that tactical police units found and apprehended four of the terror suspects at a number of locations early Wednesday morning in Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia state.
Ravsan B. who was described as the terror cell’s leader, is also accused of accepting a $40,000 contract to murder an individual in Albania, but that killing never took place.
Ravsan has been behind bars for more than a year in Germany, but officials did not specify if the charges he was jailed on last year were related to the alleged murder contract or whether they had to do with additional alleged crimes.
All five suspects face charges being members of a terrorist organization, according to the AP.
The arrests of the alleged terrorists come weeks after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a warning that terrorists might attempt to take advantage of the country’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in order to further their agendas.
“Violent extremists probably are seeking to exploit public fears associated with the spread of COVID-19 to incite violence, intimidate targets and promote their ideologies, and we assess these efforts will intensify in the coming months,” according to the memo, which circulated late last month.
The memo did not identify any specific threats, ABC News reported.
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